Food Scene

When the Spirits Move You: Tempe Distilleries

Sip your way through the heart of Arizona’s artisanal beverages movement at these three Tempe distilleries.

With such a deep history in both the wine and craft industry, Arizona’s distilleries and their small batch spirits have become the state’s next wave of innovative and artisanal beverages.

Home to three distilleries, Tempe is at the heart of this momentum. And with tasting rooms, tours and curated menus of specialty cocktails, a day distillery hopping is the perfect way to savor this emerging industry.

Adventurous Stills
2215 E. Fifth St., #102, Tempe, AZ 85288 | 480-292-8770

A stop at Adventurous Stills lives up to its name. Started by a trio of friends who enjoyed spending time outdoors, they brought that same sense of discovery to spirit making. Not ones to take the path more traveled, they crowd-sourced funding for the endeavor and then hand-built their still and distilling equipment. The Adventurous team started producing in 2015 and opened the tasting room in an industrial area of Tempe two years later. Its portfolio of gin, vodka, whiskey, rum and bourbon are named for popular Arizona hiking destinations. In addition to their own line, they also offer a “Taste of Arizona” flight with other locally produced spirits. The tasting room is open Thursdays to Saturdays. Tours are offered on Fridays and Saturdays every hour.

Arizona Distilling Co.
601 W. University Drive, Tempe, AZ 85281 | 480-921-2487

The team behind Arizona Distilling Co. has been producing spirits since 2013 and now boasts an award-winning portfolio that includes gin, vodka and Copper City Bourbon, Arizona’s first legally made whiskey since the prohibition. Whiskey lovers should also try the Desert Durum Wheat, made from Arizona grains.The distillery moved to larger digs in 2018 and now includes a tasting room and lounge nicknamed the “Old Walrus.” It’s a nod to Arizona’s first governor, George W.P. Hunt, whose portrait hangs over the bar where, in addition to spirit flights, there are cocktails crafted by bartender partner Micah Olsen and a new bites menu. Open Wednesday to Sunday, tours and tastings are offered on Saturdays and should be scheduled 24 hours in advance.

Wild Hare Distillery
5869 S. Kyrene Road, #18, Tempe, AZ 85283 | 602-402-2329

Since 2018, co-owners Wendy Tilton and Jim Matz have been showcasing the fruits of their labor at Wild Hare Distillery — their headquarters, a tasting room and retail space. Home to DROVE Spirits, an award-winning line of 100% Blue Weber Agave, and WHD Spirits, a line of small-batch whiskeys, vodkas and gin. The best seller is the Roble Blanco Salvaje, which begins with agave from Jalisco, Mexico, in nectar form. It’s then distilled onsite and continues its journey in a #2 charred oak barrel with medium toast, before finally being infused with vanilla beans imported from Madagascar. Give it a try during tasting room hours (11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays), and tours are avaiable at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. — just be sure to secure your spot for both or either with a reservation. Cheers!

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